Aryan Khan refused bail by Indian court after cruise ship drug bust

Lawyers for Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's son say he is innocent

Aryan Khan is escorted to court by Narcotics Control Bureau officials for a bail plea hearing in Mumbai. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

An Indian court rejected a bail application for Aryan Khan on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after he was arrested in a cruise ship drug bust case.

Mr Khan, 23, son of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, and seven others were arrested in the early hours of October 2 after undercover agents from the Narcotics Control Bureau raided the Cordelia cruise liner as it sailed to Goa from Mumbai.

He will remain in Mumbai’s high-security Arthur Road jail until a fresh application from his lawyers can be heard at the High Court of Bombay.

Mr Khan is facing charges of selling, consuming and procuring banned substances, as well as “conspiracy” under India’s stringent anti-narcotics laws.

Prosecutors had opposed his release on the grounds that the investigation was at a preliminary stage and claimed Mr Khan could use his “influence” to tamper with evidence and witnesses.

Investigators said they did not directly seize any drugs from Mr Khan during the raid but alleged he conspired to procure drugs after they found “incriminating” WhatsApp conversations on his mobile phone.

The agency said the chats link him to a nexus of drug peddlers and smugglers. It said his detention was necessary to “uncover the international drug trafficking chain”.

Mr Khan has denied all charges. He also claimed that he was implicated in the case by the agency, despite clear proof that he was not in possession of any drugs.

His lawyers have said the charges are “absurd” and “false".

Indian police stands guards as Aryan Khan and other accused are taken to the court by Narcotics officials from Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office in Mumbai, India. EPA

The agency has so far arrested 20 people in the case, including five drug dealers.

Mr Khan’s father Shah Rukh, 55, a Bollywood megastar and one of the most followed actors globally, has not yet commented on his son’s arrest.

The actor has starred in more than 100 films and has remained a non-controversial figure throughout his three-decade film career.

His son’s arrest has divided India’s social media, with Twitter buzzing with trends supporting or opposing Mr Khan.

Bollywood has been dogged by allegations of widespread drug abuse in recent years.

Last year a top actor Sushant Singh Rajput allegedly committed suicide following a history of narcotics abuse.

Updated: October 20, 2021, 1:42 PM